A race shoe providing a seriously stiff carbon sole, developed to offer optimum power transfer. Adjustable vents at the sole are a surprisingly agreeable touch and there's plenty of wiggle room at the toe box. We found these came up larger than expected, so would advise - as per all cycling shoes - you try before you buy, and though the retention dial does offer minute adjustments, we still prefer a Boa.
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The Sidi Sixty is a celebratory shoe, designed to immortalise the 60th anniversary of the Italian brand.
Of course, for the consumer, what matters is what this shoe - handmade in Italy and costing £330 - is going to do for them. The new design promises pro level performance, with Sidi incorporating new materials designed to offer stiffness and comfort whilst keeping the weight low.
At this price point, of course you're getting a carbon sole. In this case, it's a 3k 'Vent Carbon' weave, and from the first pedal stroke it was clear to me that this is a race shoe.
Comparing directly a pair of Specialized S-Works 7 road shoes I use as a regular go-to, these felt stiffer to me. The brand says it's built in flex at the front end, for comfort. Clasping the shoe in my hand for the 'flex test', I did indeed discover a tiny fraction of movement, which I couldn't get out of the S-Works comparison tool - but I can't say this came through on the bike. I wore these shoes over rides of several hours, and they weren't harsh enough to cause discomfort - but they're definitely a model to invest in if you're after stiffness over flex.
The 'Vent' name comes because, as well as two small vents in the center of the shoe, Sidi has embedded an extra vent at the toe box which can be opened or closed via a cross head scredriver. This is not something I've seen ever before on a cycling shoe. Initially, it did seem a little gimmicky, however, when you've got riders all over the world covering vents up with electrical tape in the winter, it doesn't seem so silly - and a small vent can go a long way to providing a cooling effect in the summer when air is rushing past.
The sole offers up a lovely untreated carbon visual, with clear cleat markers and replaceable heel and toe guards.
The upper is made from TechPro Microfibre, which the brand calls an 'eco-friendly leatherette'. It's water repellent and comes with an anti-mould treatment. There are flashes of a Nylon mesh around the toes and heels. I opted for a white shoe, and the faux leather came clean with a quick wipe. It's a fairly tough feeling fabric, but long term this can be a good thing - soft material feels great, but it often gives and loses firmness quickly.
The closure system didn't win many points with me. Sidi has provided a Velcro patch to ensure the tongue is held in place before the rider tightens the closure. This is not something I've ever needed in a shoe before, and to be honest I found it a bit annoying. At the centre, is the brand's own 'Tecno-4' closure system.
Sidi first designed a rotor closure system back in 1988 - and this is its own progression. The Tecno-4 offers micro adjustments to increase and relieve tension, and the dials are replaceable. After several wears, I got used to using this. However, the vast majority of the competition has adopted Boa dials and it feels like Sidi is holding on to its own version at its detriment.
At the toes, there's an extra Velcro strap, providing a extra secure hold, but again if I were to have my way I'd do away with that since I barely touched it myself.
Fit is crucial to getting good performance out of any shoe, as bike fitter Phil Burt explained to us when we looked at wide fit shoes. Of course to an extent it's personal. I opted for a size 40. I typically wear a 39/UK 6 in standard shoes and a 40 in most cycling shoes, and have wide toes with narrow ankles.
Slipping the shoes on, I was surprised to find they were remarkably roomy. Since Sidi offers half sizes throughout the range, in hindsight I would have been better opting for a 39.5. I had plenty of wiggle room at the toes which is an area which can be a struggle.
Sidi's own insoles are shaped for support, but aren't customisable as per the solutions offered by the likes of Giro and Giant. I found the fit better with my own insoles, which have a higher arch support.
The brand has built in a fully integrated heel design, which has been reinforced to ensure it provides long lasting support. This is anatomically shaped to provide stability, and attempting the CW Max Watts challenge whilst wearing these, I didn't experience any heel slip. I did feel that the retention dial, sitting where it does in the centre of the tongue, created a bit of pressure, and if I were designing a Cinderella shoe, I'd place these at the side.
Weight wise, my size 40s came in at 245g each, that is a tad heavier than the likes of the S-Works (claiming 224g for a size 42) and a smidge over the current Shimano RC9 (243 for a size 42). Weight can bring with it durability, and Shimano's shoes are known for being quite soft and giving a bit over time, but having worn the S-Works for over a year I have no concerns there - so Specialized has to take the win in a direct comparison.
Coming in at £330, these shoes are certainly an investment. However, the stiffness, comfort and additional nods to luxury - such as the adjustable vents - place them easily in-line with the current crop of race shoes, where price tags seem to be gradually shifting closer and closer to £400 in a uniform fashion.
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